|AN award-winning arts project is looking to commission ‘bite-size’ performances to tour a range of non-arts venues in Sunderland.
The Cultural Spring is looking to replicate the success of a similar project held throughout South Tyneside in 2018.
The Sunderland project is looking for four commissions, but each piece must have the scope to include the local community in the creation of the final work. This could be within the development of a script, music, or performing in a show.
Emma Horsman, Project Director of The Cultural Spring, said: “The feedback for our bite-sized productions in South Tyneside was among the most positive we’ve had for any of our projects.
“We put on 20 performances over three months and engaged more than 300 people. The shows were very different and one of the key elements of the project was that they were delivered in venues you wouldn’t expect – so we used places like a Scout hut, a parish hall, a pub, a football club and social clubs. Audiences were in the range between 30 and 50, and we expect them to be the same size for our Sunderland project.
“Performing the shows in such venues really took art into local neighbourhoods and estates, and I think people enjoyed attending cultural events in venues that were local to them and felt comfortable in.”
Each commission will need to visit five separate venues between April and May 2023 and do one performance or show at each venue. They can be on consecutive days or nights, or spread over two weeks. The five venues will be in each of the five areas of Sunderland – Coalfields, East, North, Washington and West. It’s expected each performance to include an element of food, possibly a meal.
A budget of up to £8,000 will be available for each commission – to include all production costs and engagement work with local people.
The Cultural Spring will manage the sourcing of venues in collaboration with the appointed artists or artistic teams. The Cultural Spring will also cover the venue hire and food costs along with the marketing and ticketing for the events.
Emma added: “We are interested in performances that are diverse, accessible to various audiences and age groups. We are particularly interested in proposals that include people currently under-represented in our programme, men, people from ethnically diverse backgrounds and children and young people.”
“A bite size project can be a theatre, dance or music performance and key to them is that they’ve been co-created with local people as genuine partners in the work. The performances should be followed by the sharing of food after the show. The food element can be themed to the show’s subject.”
When the pieces are ready to tour venues next Spring, tickets will be priced at about £5, which will include food and refreshments.
The four shows in South Tyneside were Best in the World, a tale of personal achievement told through the world of darts; The Annual Walter Plinge Memorial Lecture in which Eric MacLennan explores true and not-so-true South Tyneside stories; Becoming Scheherazade, a play incorporating some of the Arabian Nights stories with the real story of one family’s migration from Iraq to England and Wee Red and Her Wolf, a tale inspired by Little Red Riding Hood.
The expressions of interest deadline for the project is Wednesday, September 7 and more information can be found on The Cultural Spring website, www.theculturalspring.org.uk